Social Media Police: Ames P.D. Goes Online - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Social Media Police: Ames P.D. Goes Online

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Addie Olson


Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are becoming a common way for police departments to share information with the public.

The Ames P.D. has been doing this for under a year, but they've already seen a lot of success.

It only takes 140 characters to send information from the streets to computer, tablet and cell phone screens.

"All you've got to do is have a smart phone and then you can get information out to people very quickly and then they share it for you," said Cmdr. Geoff Huff of the Ames P.D.

Cmdr. Huff created a Twitter account during Iowa State's VEISHEA celebration last year. Students and businesses followed along, and police decided to keep the tweets coming.

"Right after VEISHEA we decided we needed to keep doing it and just changed the name to '@AmesPolice,'," Huff said.

In October, Huff added a Facebook page to the mix.

As soon as word comes in on the scanner that any area of Ames should be avoided, it hits timelines and Twitter feeds in a click.

"It's become a very legitimate form of communication and we really have to be on board with that," Huff said. "We can't just say 'We're not going to do this,' because everybody else is, so we're here too."

Social media allow the public to virtually engage with the department. Comments come in on everything from serious incidents to the small things.

"Weather seems to get the most activity," Huff said.

Cmdr. Huff has thought about expanding to other social media platforms, but as a one-man-social-media-band he'll stick to Facebook and Twitter for now.

"It does take time to do all that," Huff said. "And this seems to be working pretty well."

The Ames P.D. now has a combined following of almost 3500 people on Facebook and Twitter.

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